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DATA: debt - AIDS - trade - Africa

Africa. Where the first human beings stood up and walked. The world's second-largest continent. Home to one in ten of the world's people, and five of the ten fastest-growing economies. Global source of oil and minerals — fifteen percent of America's oil comes from Africa — and foods such as peanuts, rice, coffee and chocolate.

Just as our past has been bound up with Africa, so are all our futures.

One in two Africans is under age 20, but their futures are under threat. Africa is struggling under a triple crisis that keeps its people poor and its nations weak -- the burden of unpayable DEBT that soaks up money that should go to health and education; the epidemic of AIDS that is taking the lives of an entire generation; and the unfair TRADE policies that keep Africans from being able to sell their products at world prices and earn their own way out of poverty.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the continent south of the Sahara Desert, is also the world's poorest place. Seventy percent of its people live on less than $2 a day. 200 million go hungry every day. This year at least a million Africans, most of them young children, will die of malaria and two million will die of AIDS.

Africa is at a critical turning point, and could go either way — the crises could get far worse, or YOU can be part of helping Africa turn these crises around. Because Africans have shown they can turn back AIDS. Because debt relief and development assistance have shown they can be effective. Because more and more African leaders are committed to DEMOCRACY, ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY. Because whether and how we help Africa now is a test of our ability to prevent failing states that threaten our security, and even more important, a test of our humanity, and our willingness to respond to the moral crisis of our time.

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